Boulder City Magazine® December '08/January '09 Issue
|Boulder City History
by Roseanne Schoaff, Manager
Boulder Dam Hotel
The Old Spanish Trail
In 1968, the US Congress created the National Trail System in recognition that trails (in a land largely defined by the mobility of its citizens) are much more than paths from one place to another. They remind us of how our land was settled, teach us Native American history, help us understand our own culture, and put us in touch with nature.
Boulder City Magazine®
|There are currently 1077 trails in the system, eighteen of which are recognized as National Historic Trails to commemorate routes of historic importance. One such trail, The Old Spanish Trail, passes along the edge of Boulder City. From 1829 through 1848, The Old Spanish Trail was the primary trade route from New Mexico to the California coast.
Originally traversed by explorer, entrepreneur Antonio Armijo, the route was used to trade wool and other goods from Santa Fe with horses from California. Too rugged for wagons of any sort, the traders used pack mules to navigate the rugged landscape. It was not uncommon that an occasional horse or mule be sacrificed as a meal along the harsh, unforgiving route.
There were two variations of the route that interest Southern Nevadans. Both routes crossed the Colorado near where Nevada, Utah and Arizona now meet. The trail then diverged with the northern route through Las Vegas and the southern route through the El Dorado Valley and westward along the Mohave Route (a Native American trade route) near what is now Searchlight. The southern route is thought to have been the most commonly traveled in the earliest years, eventually giving way to the northern route because of the water resources where Las Vegas is now.
The next few years should yield much more historical and environmental information regarding the Old Spanish Trail since it was just recognized as a National Historic Trail this decade by the Bureau of Land Management and the National Park Service. Some markers have already been posted along key points in the trail and more can be expected over the next few years as Park Service personnel complete their Comprehensive Management Plan, which will likely include both preservation and public use objectives.
On behalf of the Boulder City Museum and Historical Association.
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Boulder City, Nevada 89005
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